Tuesday, 2 September 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Zoltar's Revenge

In a reversal of Big, the Tom Hanks classic from the 80s, your adult self is suddenly locked in the body of a 12-year-old kid. How do you survive your first day back in school?

Aunt Ada  me  Dad  Kit  Steve and Pauline

“Good morning girls” said the teacher at the front of the class. She repeated it again louder and clapped her hands to get attention. I was already bored. Things have not changed so much over the last 56 years except that today we all have calculation machines and some of the girls have hearing aids in their ears. We could hear much better at school, must be due to the increase in traffic noise over the years.

“Your new” said the girl sitting next to me.

“I suppose I am new in the class.”

“Shh, you don’t have to shout, I can hear perfectly.”

“Oh, sorry I thought you had hearing problems because you are wearing a hearing aid.”

“Hey where do you come from, that is my iPod and I am listening to the latest Bobby Shmurd. He is great. Do you want to listen.”

I nodded and she gave me her hearing aid. I put in my ear, as I relised it was the thing to do and was immediately deafened by the noise.

Suddenly I was engulfed in a shadow and looked up. The teacher was standing there.

“If you would rather listen to music than my voice then OK. I give you two seconds to take that iPod out of your ear and unpack your books. You are here to learn. This is not a music lesson and if it was, you would be listening to something more approriate.”

“Sorry Mrs. xxxxx, I was just putting myself in the picture, but I realise what you mean. I prefer something more with an understandable text and a beat. The Beatles or the Rolling Stones would be my thing. Even a nice Bobby Darin song.”

“Well, I must say, for a 12 year old you certainly have a good taste in music. Stop giggling girls, she is new, but she has a good music taste. You could learn something from her.”

Looks like my bad start is improving. I have impressed the teacher, but I suppose she would be about ten years younger than me.

And so the day continued. I fell asleep during the morning school at my desk, as I was bored, had done it all before and learnt nothing new. We had the afternoon off and I was glad. I disappeared as soon as possible. I might have the body of a 12 year old but my brain was still 68 years old and I couldn’t take it. Perhaps there was one good moment when I showed the class how to write a blog. They were all totally enthusiastic.

And now I am busy. I bought myself an iPod and want to listen to some music. Bobby Schmurd is OK, it just takes some getting used to.

Daily Prompt people, please think of something else tomorrow. I do not want to become 12 years old again. It was OK at the time, but I am now 68 years old and although I appreciated my new fit body I did not appreciate the psychological side of it, sitting in a class room listening to the problems of 12 year olds who felt they were not understood by their mothers. I did not understand them either, so why blame the mothers. Blame the environment they grow up in.

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Monday, 1 September 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Nightmare Job

In honour of Labor Day in North America, tell us what’s the one job you could never imagine yourself doing.

Over the clouds

Definitely not pilot. It is Ok to sit in a plane to get where you want to go. The distance between the soles of your feet  to firm ground is too far to actually enjoy it, but it was a nice photo to take somewhere over France I think.

We do not have a labour day in Switzerland. I believe we have no labour days anywhere in Europe. We just go to work to earn our living, if we want to or not. I like the thought of a labour day although the idea is strange to me. Does everyone stay at home and do nothing, something like the jewish Sabbath on Saturday? I remember my mum telling me that when she was a kid there was some pocket money to be earned doing jobs for those of the jewish faith, as work was not allowed on Saturday, but correct me if I am wrong.

Mum told me all sorts of things when I was growing up which I discovered were not true. She even told me she found me beneath a gooseberry bush when I asked her where babies came from. Of course this was wrong, she found me beneath a rose bush, or did the stork leave me in front of the door wrapped in a cloth that he had carried in his beak. I never did get down to the truth.

Anyhow the job I could never imagine myself doing is the one where someone tells you what to do. Unfortunately this sort of job does not exist. Even if you are the boss, the bank tells you what to do, it is one vicious circle. Unfortunately it seems that people were born to work and obey. Even ancient caveman was told by his wife “kill animal for food and light fire” and ancient caveman would drag his caveman wife by the hair to the fire and say “wife, cook animal”. Wife would cook animal and man would eat it throwing the bones all over the cave. Who actually had to clear the bones away is left to discussion, but someone had to do it, and so labour arrived.

I have done most things in my life. Served in a restaurant, cooked daily for 40 kids and 12 adults in a children’s care place, been an export clerk and even taught English in evening classes. I was accountant for the local first aid society, but that was the worst job of all. I was given the job because I was the only person in the organisation that knew how to use a computer. Dealing with accounts is not fun, especially when you have an audit once a year. It was a job I did at home, but it was a job with a lot of responsibility. It was not a paid job in the sense of the word, but I did get my perks. There was always someone that knew everything better and I was glad to give the job up. I had problems finding someone to take over, which was obvious. Not everyone likes to do such an unthankful job.

Why did I go to work? To earn money, to put food on the table and clothe the kids. Mr. Swiss naturally also worked, for the same reasons. We did not really have a choice. At one time we had four kids and they were not working kids, they were either at school or babies.

I could never be a vet. I would probably come home crying daily about the poor little animals that would suffer. Being a soldier would also not be my thing. You get action when there is a war and what do you do in the war? Yes exactly, not my sort of thing.

I never really found my dream job. I often wondered if undertaker would be something. You are unique, no problems with unemployment and the money is good. The clients are quiet, do no argue about their treatment and those that pay for the service do not generally question the costs. There are also variations on the methods used to bring a little variety into the work,  but we do not really want to go into details.

Now I am a simple housewife and Mr. Swiss is a houseman. Are we happy in our work? We receive a monthly wage from the government for being retired and have no-one to tell us what to do. We arise and retire when we want to. We now work as being senior citizens. Some might say end station, but we just say you never know what is around the corner, so why worry.

On this happy note I will leave you and enjoy your labour day.

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Sunday, 31 August 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: The Mirror Crack'd

You wake up one morning to a world without mirrors. How does your life — from your everyday routines to your perception of yourself — change?

Mirror, Castle Waldegg, Feldbrunnen

“He’s here again.”

“Who?” Mr. Swiss answered the door. It was Sunday, I had a feeling who it was. He always rings twice and arrives on a Sunday. I think Saturday is WordPress t-shirt washing day. I opened the door.

“Hello Wordy, come in and have a coffee. What are you going to do today?”

“Thanks Mrs. Angloswiss, two sugars and no milk, please.”

“Just a minute Wordy, where are you going with that ladder?”

“Orders Mrs. Angloswiss for the daily prompt. I have to remove your mirrors. How many do you have?”

“I have one in the entrance hall and in the bathroom and shower. Wait a minute Wordy. What did you say? Where are you going with that mirror. Put it down at once.”

“Today’s daily prompt Mrs. Angloswiss. You have a world without mirrors and how do you live.”

I like to comb my hair in the bathroom, I check to see if my clothes are fitting when I leave the apartment. At my age you never know if you are wearing your blouse inside out. These things can happen. So I need my mirrors.”

Mr. Swiss arrived on the scene.

“What’s that guy with the WordPress t-shirt doing in the bathroom. He is removing the mirrored doors from the cupboard and making a mess all over the bathroom floor. How am I supposed to shave and trim my beard if I don’t have a mirror.”

Suddenly there were shouts and almost screams coming from the bathroom. I had a look.”

“Mr. Swiss what are you doing. Put that guy in the t-shirt down, he is already going red in the face. You are strangling Wordy.”

“I don’t care, I would like to see Wordy shave without a mirror.”

Wordy was now leaning on the wall taking deep breathes and loosening the neck of his t-shirt.

“Mr. Swiss I put a new clean t-shirt on today and now I have blood stains on it and a tear. I will lose my job if I go back like this and I don’t have to shave. We WordPress elves don’t have whiskers.”

“And if you take my mirror away you will lose more, so take your hands off my mirror.”


I decided to intervene before someone was killed and it would not be Mr. Swiss.

“Wordy go home. We want to keep our mirrors.”

“Waaa, nobody loves me.”

“Don’t cry Wordy, of course we love you, you are only doing your job, but sometimes we Wordpress bloggers do not like people interfering with our private lives. Now drink your coffee and here is a piece of chocolate cake to go with it and make sure you do not get chocolate stains on your nice clean white t-shirt.”

“Oh, thank you Mrs. Angloswiss” he said as he licked the chocolate filling off his fingers and brushed the crumbs of his t-shirt. There must have been some sort of mix-up. The WordPress chief guy said you don’t need mirrors. He often saw you fly out of the window on full moon nights and said vampires don’t have reflections.”

“Oh, did he. Well tell that WordPress chief guy that I do have a reflection usually. It only happens on full moon nights, and I might pay the WordPress chief guy a visit on one of those nights to see what he has to offer. I prefer group A, but O will do as well.”

“Shall I tell him that Mrs. Angloswiss.”

“No don’t bother, I like to surprise people.”

So Wordy attached the mirror doors to the cabinet in the bathroom and tidied everything up. He put his ladder under his arm and left. We waved to him from the window. He waved back and said “Bye Mrs. Angloswiss, see you again on another prompt.”

I did not give an answer. I just checked to see how I looked in the mirror.

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Saturday, 30 August 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Pains and Gains

Do you agree with Jane Fonda’s favorite exercise motto,“no pain, no gain?” Is it impossible to attain greatness without considerable hardship?

Meadow flowers

It is late summer and you decide to weed the garden. Pull out the unwanted and keep the nice ones. I am sure Jane Fonda recognises the problem. To achieve a good result you have to bend and use energy. Unfortunately I never attended an aerobic exercise to show me how to do this properly. My experience in physical exercise is limited to a weekly Tai Chi course, which I am at the moment not able to attend due to severe hip pain: to continue. I begin to weed the garden knowing that this will be a rewarding job. I will gain a weed free garden. Unfortunately the dreaded stinging nettles had decided to move in and hide themselves between the unwanted weeds.

I continued, ignoring the stinging pain in my fingers knowing that without this I would not gain a weed free garden. I progressed through the garden and then I saw a strange shaped leaf, rather large and not something that I had planted. This was destroying my garden landscape. A few quick pulls and they would disappear. Unfortunately this green leaf had a root attached which seemed to be on the way to the middle of the earth. Eventually I had a hand full of green leaves, leaving behind stalks. I also managed to fall in the process, losing my balance. After a quick glance to see if anyone saw me land on my sensitive part, I stood again and noticed that my back did not want to stand with me. I was reminded of this fall for some time, combining a visit to the doctor, collecting tablets for treatment for lumbago. Eventually I could move again, even arise from a seat with no pain, after a few months. Did I complain, did I utter painful sounds? No of course not, I had a good example. Jane Fonda said “no pain, no gain”. Her words were a shining example of how to cope with such problems.

Of course talking of achieving greatness, this is obvious. Day for day, hours for hours, I battle with daily prompts, churning through ideas of how to do it better. Searching for inspiration in great works of literature and scanning through my German-English online dictionary as I am a multitasker. My brain often thinks German, but my actions say “do it in English”. I reread my words of wisdom, checking for mistakes, for “how-to-say-it-better” inspiration. Eventually, the sweat pouring from my brow, I press the magic keyboard configuration meaning “upload” and it is done. My daily prompt is alive. “Oh no” I grunt, there is a full stop missing and I have misspelt a word words. I press the little edit sign and re-write half of what is written, spurred on by the words “no pain, no gain”. I am sure Jane Fonda knows what I mean. She wrote two books and probably experienced much pain when re-reading everything to check that it was a perfect best seller. Do you think she had a ghost writer? No, definitely not, she plodded on with the motto “no pain, no gain”.

How often to I clean windows and my arm begins to hurt, but I carry on regardless knowing that without this burden to bear the windows would remain dirty. My mum called it elbow grease, I just call it elbow pain. It is a matter of interpretation. When I come to think of it, my mum very rarely cleaned windows, we had a window cleaner. The old houses in East London were not built with windows that you could clean. Armed with a ladder, bucket and cloth the window cleaner would climb to the windows on the first  floor and do the necessary. I do not think he had a lot of pain, it was his daily work, but he had gain when mum paid him for the job.

Now my work is done. Fellow bloggers my efforts might pain you to read, but afterwards you have gained something, although I am not quite sure what. However, I am sure we will all be back tomorrow to continue our sufferings. Who knows, we might even gain a Pulitzer/Nobel prize for our efforts, or even the famous WordPress t-shirt, all is possible. Jane Fonda earned millions with her ideas and I am sure one day we will reap the benefits of our labour. And do not forget, WordPress does not sleep. Not only do we have a new grid system but also a new uploader. Luckily we are given the choice to still use the old uploader, should we not come to grips with the new one. I came to grips with the new one, decided I did not like it, so now switch to the older version. I really tried, but noticed I was experiencing too much pain to gain something from it, so gave up.

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Friday, 29 August 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: New Dawn

How often do you get to (or have to) be awake for sunrise? Tell us about what happened the last time you were up so early (or late…).

Sunrise over Feldbrunnen

He who searches, finds and I actually found a photo of a sunrise. It was taken from my garden. It must have been early winter, as the sun rises too early for me for a summer dawn. If I do arise at the crack of dawn it is usually a human need that spurs me on to the bathroom. Generally I return to the comfort of my bed afterwards and do not peep through the closed blinds to see if the sun has risen. Who cares? Only the birds and they have it in their little throaty system. They are sometimes a nuisance, waking me with their continuous whistling and peep, peep, peep, but luckily this only happens in high summer. As soon as daylight decreases, they give up and sleep a little longer in the morning.

I noticed my file of sunrise photos in Flickr is sparse, just a few. I love those prompts where somewhere it says “tell us about etc. etc.” I feel as if I am at a confessional admitting my wrong deeds. Sunrise exists, but I very seldom see it. Even when I was a working lady and rose in the morning at six I did not have time to look out of the window and admire nature’s gift of a rising sun. Generally I had a misty veil covering my eyes from sleep or I was too busy groping my way to the kitchen for a few bites of food. Afterwards I entered the shower, checked that son No. 1 was ready to depart and we were off in the car to work. Even on the road I had no time to adore the illuminations of day break. I dropped my son off and then I arrived at work. I was too busy concentrating on the traffic to look out of the car window.

Sometimes I arrived at work and a friend would say “did you see that sunrise?” knowing that I always had a camera with me. “You should take a photo”. Spurred on by her enthusiasm I searched for a window at work showing the sun which was now covered by grey clouds, thus I have no photos of dawn from my working days or perhaps 7 o’clock in the morning was too late.

Sometimes my cat might wake me at an unearthly time with a few harmonious meows which I interpret as being “let me out” and for the sake of peace and quiet I make my way to the kitchen to open the window. Unfortunately this does not always coincide with their wish. Tabby has the habit of deciding to eat a plate of vitamin concentrated pellets before leaving. Unfortunately Tabby does not like being rushed when eating – don’t we all? She would make her way through the pellets, chewing each one carefully and thoroughly whilst I was waiting for her to decide to leave the safety of home.  Cats unfortunately are not influenced by wonderful sunrises and just go when they feel like it. It is often an hour before dawn when Tabby decided to go for her nocturnal walk.

We have a cat flap, but it is only open from the outside. If I fixed it to be open from the inside I have a blind cat that would decide to make the great escape sometime in the night. This has happened once or twice, through a false manipulation by human hand and it is not funny to stumble in the dark outside searching for a wandering cat. He was always found. Luckily he is a blue tabby. Ok, he is not blue, but that is how he is described. In any case when he is clean he is whitish which made his discovery easier. Of course he was glad to be found, although it needed quite some persuasion to bring him home.

I never did voluntary sunrises, they just sort of happened. In my younger days in London I would often stumble home when the sun was rising, but I did not either appreciate or notice it. This was generally due to an encounter of the other kind, or perhaps a meeting with friends. I had a friend at my workplace in Switzerland, she lived on a farm. I said how nice with all those animals. She said it was just her way of life and the cockerel often crowed in greeting when she arrived home in the early morning hours.

So there we have it. New dawns are not my thing. I am more for dusk when my corner teeth grow longer, nice and white and pointed, and I take a flight to the local blood bank.

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Thursday, 28 August 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Head Turners

We often hear strange snippets of conversation as we walk through public spaces. When was the last time you overheard something so interesting, ridiculous, or disturbing you really wanted to know what it was all about?

“Yeah baby, do it again, that’s great.” “I’ll do it to you as well, stay as you are.”

I had just had breakfast in the morning, was still in my night attire – no sexy nightdress, just plain cotton in yellow and decided on a quick inspection of the garden before I began my daily chores, like playing with the vacuum cleaner and running down the computer. It was then that I heard the above conversation. This was interesting. Is someone doing something usually done discretely: no, it could not be but the aahs and ooohs were definitely coming from a corner of the garden.

I decided to investigate. I changed into my super pink plastic garden clogs to avoid spreading muck in the apartment as it had rained quite heavily during the night. It was then that I saw them. I felt so guilty watching two of a kind doing what two of a kind usually do, but stop! Slugs are not two of a kind, they are hermaphrodite, they have both the female and male equipment. At first I thought the female part was laying eggs. I decided to see what Internet had to say so I did a quick surfing exercise and saw a photo almost the same as mine.

Two slugs mating

I thought “how sweet, mother slug has just given birth and daddy slug is hugging her proud of the achievement”. This was completely wrong. In the meanwhile I heard again “You are great, and what a sexy snail you are.” The answer was “oh, this is wonderful, I could stay like this all day.”

Yes, people (and don’t tell your kids if they are under age), slugs do it just the same as we all do, but there is a small difference. What you see in this photo are two snails entwined making babies. The white jelly-similar protruberences are the snail’s dangly bits. It seems the male part of the operation is for all to see and they do it both at the same time. The fertilisation of the eggs is all done behind the scenes. Basically these two slugs are enlarging the slug population. In two weeks there will be probably about 20x2 eggs deposited in my garden to prolong the eating spree of my plants.

In the meanwhile my slug friendly plants have disappeared in the slug digestive system. There is nothing left for the snails in my garden so now they just go for a walkabout and if they meet, you can see the result. After this orgy they separated and went their own way. One slug remained and the other decided to take it easy after the exertions.

I feel a bit guilty. I was eavesdropping on a private conversation between two snails and they were having fun in the middle of a patch of snail pellets, so probably there will be no screaming, munching slug babies as a result. Not only was I a peeping tom, but also a murderer

Actually there was quite a noise in the garden yesterday evening. Due to the rainy season there were many slugs, but mostly discussing where they could get a good meal. One got quite high, he found room on the top of an ant bait container and he was hugging with all his slimy energy. I do not know whether the ant poison has a negative effect on slugs, but the opening in the plastic was not big enough for a slug to squeeze into. Perhaps he/she was just getting high. Many went for a slug flight to a patch of weeds outside my garden. My aim is becoming quite good when I throw them.

They did not let me out today so I do not have any other interesting conversations to tell, and if I did they would be in Swiss German.

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